Infertility: different kinds of grief

I nearly named this post “fifty shades of grief”, but thought that was a little too on the nose!

What I’ve learnt through my infertility journey is that grief does not necessarily mean death. It does not always mean that you have lost a loved one.

I experienced shock, grief and loss a couple of weeks ago. Some of you may read this and probably feel that I’m not using the appropriate word for my feelings. After all, the word “grief” is a strong one. But that is genuinely how I felt and these feelings were painful and difficult and to me, felt like grief.

Two weeks ago, my parents let me know that my brother’s girlfriend is pregnant. Baby is due in October.

Now, I may sound bitter with my next few words, but these are the thoughts that first went through my head: he does not have a stable job, I’m not even sure where he lives and he is not the most responsible person in the world. They have also been together for only 1 year. I’ve been with my husband for 12, trying for 3.5.

What happened first was the shock. I didn’t think he was even trying! I was in shock for about 24 hours. I did not eat, I barely slept, just spent 24 hours watching Netflix and crying constantly. I think it was because it was so out of the blue that my system just could not process the information properly.

Then, a sort of denial, where I “forgot” that I was going to be an aunt and my brother was going to be a father. “No, it can’t be happening, I must have dreamt it” or “It’s probably a false positive” (knowing full well these don’t really happen…)

After a day or so, more crying and this time an overwhelming sense of loss. Basically the loss of the ideas and hopes that I had had in my head about my family: I am the eldest and I wanted my child to be the first grandchild. I’ve lost that hope. The eldest is always the favourite and I wanted my child to be the favourite.

Then I mourned for the relationship I’ve got with my parents. I tell my mum everything. And although she doesn’t always think before she speaks, I was sad because I did not feel I could be honest with her about the situation. After all, she would be ecstatic to finally become a grandmother, how could I take that joy away from her? So now I’m wondering how much time I can spend with my parents without their happiness killing me.

Now, I’m just living in fear. I’m living in fear that my sister will also get pregnant before I do (she is 8 years younger than me), or that my brother-in-law becomes a father before I do, and my child is not the first grandchild on my husband’s side. Then that dream would be truly dead.

I’m living in fear that all my friends are going to have babies before I do and that the pain is going to be too much to bear and I will end up with no friends, alone and in tears.

My IVF treatment is starting soon and statistically only 20% results in a baby, so I’m at a loss and hope it fading fast. I’m afraid of having a miscarriage. I’m afraid that the funded IVF won’t work and that I’ll run out of money for more IVF treatment.

I’m afraid of the adoption conversation as I’m not sure that’s what I want. I’m afraid that if we do decide to adopt my dad won’t accept the baby (he’s very old-fashioned).

Finally, I feel like I am grieving for the life that I had imagined for myself and that I don’t have.

Before my infertility journey, I had no idea just how much we suffer in these circumstances and I’m still surprised at the intensity of my feelings at times. All I can say is that my thoughts are with all those who are on the infertility journey. Hopefully my next post will be brighter, hopefully I’ll feel brighter soon.

Do I look fat to you?

Sure, I could lose a few pounds, but do you think I am obese?

If you do, fair enough, but let me tell you, I actually like my body. I like being 14 and a half Stone. I like having big boobs, I like the fact that my husband loves my big boobs.

I have fucking awesome boobs.

So, the fertility doctor, in our last appointment, explained that we are in the category of “unexplained infertility”.

We have to wait 3 years, and I have to have a BMI of 28. Apparently I am at a BMI of 32. So, I need to lose 1 and half Stone.

Shit.

I’m not very good at losing weight.

And over the past year (the last year before the 3 years are up), I’ve tried EVERYTHING.

  1. MyFitnessPal

Did not work for me. Ended up spending too much  time trying to input food onto the app, whilst eating snacks.

Weight lost: 0 pounds.

2. WeightWatchers

Did not work. I have a FitBit and all it did was tell me I could eat loads as I was doing so much walking.

Weight lost: 1 pound in 3 months (SCORE)

3. BootCamp

Went on a week-long boot camp in the summer and bloody hell that was hard, felt sick the whole fucking time. Also spent £1000. However, it worked!

Weight lost: 9 pounds in one week (WOOOOO)

4. Book by Paul McKenna, How to lose weight

This book made sense and worked for me, but only for a while.

Weight lost: 10 pounds in 6 months

5. NHS: Eat less move more

This works if you have willpower. I have NONE

Weight lost: 0 pounds

So, the three years are up in January and my appointment is coming up then. I need to be BMI 28 by then. I am currently BMI 29. Nearly there, but I’ve now stopped at 13 Stone and nothing will shift it!!!

How frustrating!

But you know what really bugs me? the fact that I was told that I should not be happy with my body the way it is and I have to change it because I am slightly overweight.

Also, people who don’t deserve children get pregnant and I can’t because I need to lose a few pounds? How is that fair?

I. Hate. My. Life.

Fuck.

 

The HyCoSy

After finally getting an appointment with the infertility clinic, it was a year and a half into trying.

The doctor started on tests and as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, we did blood tests and a semen analysis. Both were fine, so I had to go through a procedure called a HyCoSy. This looks at whether there are any obstructions in my tubes.

I got the letter for the appointment and it had to be done a certain time during the month. Unfortunately I had to book it during my hubby’s lads holiday in Poland. The letter also said that someone had to come with me as I may not be able to drive home.

That freaked me out.

I may not be able to drive? It sounded super painful.

Luckily I have lovely parents who are also teachers and were on holiday at the time, so they agreed to come over and stay with me for a few days.

So, I live in a two-bed flat, and my dad is kinda old and needs to sleep in a bed… So… I ended up setting up a blow-up mattress in the spare room for myself and my parents slept in my bed.

I should be comfortable, right? My friend said that when she had to go through the HyCoSy, she didn’t feel anything at all, so all I needed was for my parents to drive me home and then I could just enjoy their company. (that is not what happened…)

Day of the operation.

Had to get naked (always super fun in front of your parents and strangers at the age of 29) and wear those weird robes which don’t really close. Plus legs were not quite shaved that recently. Needless to say that I was not sexy…

I then had to wait about half an hour (whilst wearing the uncomfortable robes!) in a room with other strangers, really awkward.

This other lady also in a gown was sitting there crying. I felt really sorry for her and wanted to give her a big hug, but wasn’t sure how that would go down, so I just sat there uncomfortable and tried not to look at her while she silently wept. Not a happy moment…

Finally, I was called into the operating room (not sure what else to call it). I asked my mum to come with me.

So basically, this is what a HyCoSy entails: they use a speculum to insert this tube up your vagina and tubes and then inject this blue liquid. Then, they insert the stick which is meant to detect any blockages.

I know this sounds ok, but let me tell you, it was fucking painful.

Well, the issue with me is that is (apparently, according to all the gynaecologists), I’ve got quite a deep cervix. this means that it’s not easy for doctors to get up there and do what they need to do…

So, this means that plastic speculums don’t work. So, they tried with the plastic ones about 4 times (with me screaming in agony as every time is super painful). Then they finally used the metal one and managed to get the liquid up there and have a look.

I then slowly walked back to the waiting room, tears streaming down my face, got changed and my dad drove us home.

I was then unable to get up from the sofa for 4 days.

The most painful thing EVER.

Trust me, I’m not a wimp and I do have a relatively high threshold for pain. Ouch.

three weeks later, I had an appointment with the doctor. No blockages and nothing to report which could explain my infertility.

I have to come back once we’ve been trying for 3 years.

Fuck.

My journey so far

I’ve been trying to get pregnant for 3 years now. I know it doesn’t seem like that long, but trust me, it’s fucking long. Anyone who says it’s not a long time has clearly not gone through this process. And they should shut it.

Never in a million years did I think that I would ever struggle to get pregnant. Ever.

Both my mum and gran got pregnant super young (20 and 23 respectively) and had to have a shotgun wedding. My mum is 21 on that picture on the main page, and the cute little baby is me.

Clearly, I come from a long line of super fertility, so I thought, when I’m ready, there would be no problems! Why would there be?

Actually, once I started dating, my main thought was: “wear a condom, don’t get pregnant”, “wear a condom, don’t get pregnant”, “wear a condom, don’t get pregnant”. I basically didn’t want to end up like mum and gran and having to get married too soon or dropping out of Uni.

When I started Uni, all I could think of was: “finish your studies, don’t get pregnant”, “finish your studies, don’t get pregnant”, “finish your studies, don’t get pregnant”.

At Uni, I met my amazing hubby (you need an amazing partner if you’re going to get through it all, can’t do it alone!).

I finished my degree and teacher training (yes, I’m a teacher and surrounded by kids every day, that helps soooooo  much) and my first comment to my mum was “I didn’t get pregnant and I’ve now got a degree!” She was proud as she could never achieve what I did (because of me).

Again, I thought, when I am ready, it’s going to happen on it’s own.

After Uni, my main thought was “don’t get pregnant, get career sorted first”, “don’t get pregnant, get career sorted first”, “don’t get pregnant, get career sorted first”.

I then got married and by the age of 28, I had my career sorted. After 4 years, I got a promotion as Head of Department. We were earning a decent amount, we were going on nice holidays, we were going to buy a 2 bed flat and it was time to start trying for a baby.

Again, I thought it would be a matter of months.

A year later, I was like: WTF? my mum and gran got pregnant straight away, why not me? did I leave it too late?

All this time, I was trying not to and now that I wanted to it was not happening.

Fuck.